Hi! I was looking for some help or advice regarding digital art software. Not sure if I should be posting here or in the Software section - I did see the 'photoshop alternatives' thread but it didn't seem to be quite what I was looking for. But here goes!

I'm a hobby level traditional artist who has been experimenting with digital art. It isn't anything I have had the opportunity to study and I'm just making it up as I go along. I'm currently using GIMP and a Wacom Cintiq 12WX and I'm reasonably happy with some of the results that I'm getting. I have the picture I'm working on in fullscreen mode on the Cintiq and all the other tool/layer/palette/etc windows on my desktop monitor. I have set the thumbstrip and express key things to switch monitors, zoom, undo, redo and whatever else I typically do.

I mostly just use a few different paint tool brushes (the basic round one and a speckled one to create textures sometimes) and alter opacity and size settings a lot. I sometimes use the eraser and ink tools. I use layers and layer opacity settings a lot and sometimes layer effects - mostly blur on background layers to try and create some depth.

I'm not looking for a lot more tools or features that I'm not going to use. I'm happy enough just trying to scribble and paint on my tablet as I would make traditional art but I do miss having a box full of assorted brushes, pen nibs and other tools for making different marks and creating different effects. I'm starting to feel a bit limited in terms of brush options and I'd like to try something else.

I did give Photoshop a go. The UI might have been a bit better but by then I was already used to GIMP and had everything set up how I wanted. It didn't seem to have any extra features that I would use. The brush presets didn't seem to suit me and editing brush properties as I worked seemed a lot more time consuming than GIMP. That may have been just because it was an older version or because I wasn't used to it but I certainly didn't feel any urge to upgrade to Photoshop from free software.

Corel Painter and something I have seen on Steam called Black Ink are two things I'm considering. Black Ink is far more within my price range and the brush modification options seem really exciting to me - but I'm not sure how practical it would be in terms of layers and other tools/options that help my workflow. Painter would be more of an investment but I might still go for it if I knew I could work with layers, etc in a similar way to GIMP.

So basically if anyone has any experience with those two pieces of software and could offer advice that would be great, likewise any suggestions for alternative software or better ways of working with what I have! If not, then I figured is was worth a try asking...
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You should try Paint.net.
Paint.net is open source so there are lots of plugins for diferent kinds of brushes.
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You should try Paint.net.
Paint.net is open source so there are lots of plugins for diferent kinds of brushes.

Well, it isn't a big download so I'm installing it now and will certainly give it a try!
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(oh geezes the mobile version is so weird) I use Paint.net along with PaintToolSAI because while PTS has more options and I am generally more comfortable with that one, P.n has a few useful features that PTS doesn't have. I have also seen other artists using two or three programs together to get the finished product they want, so maybe you can still use GIMP and another program with it. Hope I helped! >.<
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Hi there!

I have tried Corel Painter and I think it's nice. If you are looking for a traditional look, go for it. However, I feel that, while it has some interesting brush settings, it misses a lot of things (that I value more because brushes aren't really that important to me). You can always try a demo anyway.

I'm going to list some that may interest you:

Artrage: a really simple program. It tries to realistically recreate oil paints, watercolours...
You can customise the brushes as well.

Clip Paint/Manga Studio 5: why am I listing a manga art software? Because it has a really nice range of different oil paints, pastels, watercolours, nibs... It has some useful PS features as well as some special features that save me a lot of work. You can easily change the settings and make new ones. I'd say that it's a Photoshop-Paint Tool Sai hybrid (on a side note: if you end up liking this one, check the clip studio paint website carefully because they do 70% sales pretty frequently)

Krita(free): a mix between different art programs that has highly customisable stuff but keeps the interface clean and simple. Certainly worth checking out, it's one of my favourites <3 . You can download a ton of brushes or do them yourself.

Verve painter(free): a fluid dynamics based software; you literally push the paint around. It gives really painterly results, usually.

Medibang(free): the new firealpaca. It really resembles clip paint studio, but it's a bit more limited. Still, it's really nice for a free program.

Mischief: its main feature is an infinite canvas (you can zoom in or out as much as you want and the canvas never ends). It also has some traditional brushes. Wonderful for life drawing or things like that, although it might make you feel a bit limited sometimes.

I hope that was somewhat helpful =)
Last update on August 9, 8:21 am by Silianne.
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Thanks for the replies! I haven't been mostly doing traditional paintings for people lately and haven't had much time to spend on digital art - but I will get back round to it at some point, and I still appreciate advice!

I have tried PaintToolSai and Paint.net but decided to stick with GIMP - mostly due to compatability problems in Sai and pressure sensitivity issues in Paint.net.

I did have a go at a Corel Painter trial but if nothing else at this time I think more interested in using digital art to do things I can't do in traditional art rather than trying to emulate traditional art!

I did get Black Ink which isn't as fully featured as I would like - but I still think it has lots of potential for what I'm interested in.

Most of the other suggestions are new to me, but it has given me a list of things to look into!
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Well, honestly, it would've been a bit sad if you had bought painter because the 2016 version just came out.
By the way, some of those programs I listed are still being worked on, but I have tried every single one of them and I thought they were cool and innovative.
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Mark Orange
black ink is its own little beast, unfortunately i made the switch to mac which they don't support, YET. but have been told once it is i will be notified with a link to download.

had corel painter essentials 5, ok. just got painter 2015 which is REAL nice if you can afford. give amazon a good look, you would be amazed at what you can download there for cheap. but, i have to say my all time favorite and probably always will be is art rage, preferably art rage 4.5. just google art rage. its very simply laid out, very user friendly, and has a HUGE assortment of options, its up to you to explore. but...you really don't have to. I've had it for over a year and am STILL learning new things, was about $45 on website, but for what you get, its a steal. hope that helps. also they will give you a free trial period to make sure its for you.
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